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OpenAI reportedly seeking trillions for AI chip development

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Sam Altman, the CEO of the artificial intelligence (AI) developer OpenAI, is reportedly in talks with investors worldwide to raise trillions of dollars for developing semiconductor chips.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 8, Altman’s project would require fundraising of around $5–7 trillion. Sources close to OpenAI say the funds would solve the scaling constraints of the company and the scarcity and cost of chips needed to develop high-level AI systems.

Altman has been reportedly pitching partnerships between OpenAI and “various investors,” chip makers and energy providers, saying OpenAI would agree to be a “significant customer” of the new factories.

An OpenAI spokesperson commented:

“OpenAI has had productive discussions about increasing global infrastructure and supply chains for chips, energy, and data centers — which are crucial for AI and other industries that rely on them.” 

Altman recently met with the United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to discuss the initiative, as it would require the participation of patrons, industry partners and governments worldwide.

Related: OpenAI reportedly working on next big product: A ChatGPT that can use devices

An OpenAI spokesperson said they will continue to keep the U.S. government informed due to the importance of the topic to the country’s “national priorities.” 

The OpenAI CEO also met with the United Arab Emirates National Security Advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan. According to sources close to the matter, the UAE would play a significant role if permitted by the U.S. government.

Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, and representatives from chip-fabrication companies, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, have also reportedly been in talks with Altman about his venture.

A person familiar with the matter has said that Microsoft — a majority stakeholder in OpenAI — is aware of the company’s fundraising efforts and supports them. 

In December 2023, it was reported that OpenAI was in discussions with investors who were considering investing more than $100 billion into the company.

Nvidia remains the market leader in chips used for AI computation. Over the last year, with the surge in the development of AI models, the company has been reporting record-breaking revenue and a valuation of over a trillion dollars.

Big Tech company Meta, which owns social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has recently announced its bid to the AI chip market. It revealed its latest chip, “Artemis,” which it intends to deploy in its data centers to enhance AI capabilities and reduce dependency on Nvidia.

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